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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

08 November, 2016

Bush Vetch: purple haze



Bush vetch (Vicia sepium) is a member of the pea family and is a climbing plant using tendrils to cling to its host. It is not bush vetch because it forms a bush but because it is found in bushes where it grows up using the bush for support.
Amongst vetches with the classic pea flower bush vetch is fairly distinctive because the flowers are larger than most and tend to form in clusters a bit like a clover.  Each flower starts as dull shade of purple that then turns blue with age and so often a plant will seem to have two different coloured flowers with several shades in between also present. It produces pods after flowering which turn black when ripe. 
Flowering as early as April it can go on producing flowers right through until November. It is quite common and can be found in hedgerows and scrubby places where there are bushes to support it. It is popular plant with insects with bees and bumblebees very keen on its nectar and beetles, weevils and other creatures feeding on the leaves and seed pods.
Bush Vetch: purple haze